Five ways to succeed in the digital world

By Sanjay Srivastava

As organizations progress along their digital transformation journeys in earnest, here are five trends they should keep top-of-mind to drive competitive abilities.

“Transformation-as-a-service” accelerates time-to-value. The largest enterprises are embedding AI and machine learning tools throughout their organizations to help analyze data, increase efficiencies, predict consumer behaviors, gain competitive insights, and fundamentally transform their major operations and services.

Others are finding that the time and resources it takes to get up and running make it difficult to transform their operations at scale, and drive meaningful, enterprise-wide outcomes at speed. Transformation-as-a-service lets these organizations gain access to AI, data, cloud, mobility, and other digital technologies with basic tasks and knowledge already “baked in.” The model helps them realize benefits faster, more quickly shift their technology mix in response to evolving customer and competitive needs.

Customer experience is the new battleground. Business leaders recognize that soon there will be two types of companies: those that effectively reimagine the customer experience (CX) and those whose sub-par CX capabilities will ultimately drive them out of business. CX success in the digital age isn’t about responding to customer demands; it’s about predicting them and offering products and services that address those predictions.

To excel in CX, organizations need to unlock insights from alternative data sources, generate real-time competitive insights, and build rapid-response decision-making into differentiated, personalized experience programs. Doing so will help them improve their top line, reduce errors and costs, and realize sticky, return customers.

“Humans-in-the-loop” are becoming more valuable. A 2019 article stated that by 2025, 463 exabytes of data, the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs, will likely be created every day. This data explosion is being fueled by AI and improvements in analytics. Today, enterprise applications can’t deliver more than 80 percent accuracy. Humans must take care of the other 20 percent to train the AI models and address the last mile of decision-making.

Given this shift, and the resulting evolution of job functions and requirements, there is a vital need to reskill the “humans-in-the-loop.” However, there’s a large disconnect in how reskilling efforts are perceived. Our research shows that only 35 percent of workers said their companies have reskilling options, while 53 percent of senior executives said they do. One of the best ways to close this gap is to replace classroom-based training with virtual programs that harness the collective intelligence of experts throughout the organization.

Ethical governance of data, AI, and digital. Consumers and governments alike are becoming increasingly concerned about how data is being used by AI-driven technologies. The concerns are so great – with issues ranging from algorithms that drive credit limits to the use of facial recognition software for myriad reasons – that governmental bodies around the world are taking action.

To help eliminate stakeholders’ and consumers’ worries about unethical or biased data use, we expect that many organizations will add Digital Ethics Officers to their leadership team.

These officers will have multiple responsibilities: implementing ethical frameworks to make appropriate decisions about new technologies; addressing considerations like data security and bias; looking ahead to future technology challenges; building new standards of technology governance; and establishing new check-and-balance systems to ensure preventative measures remain effective.

AI accelerators can democratize technology. We predict that by 2025, AI leaders will be ten times more efficient than and hold twice the market share of organizations that fail to embrace the technology. Indeed, most executives recognize that breaking down time and resource barriers to accelerate AI adoption is becoming a matter of survival for their businesses.

Pre-trained AI accelerators can help organizations democratize technology through the enterprise. These building blocks are already trained with the necessary domain expertise, so it can quickly provide people with the tools they need to make better decisions.

(The author is chief digital officer of Genpact. Views expressed are personal.)

( Originally published on Feb 29, 2020 )

Indian companies bet big on CX innovation to protect business from competitors: report

Pune: More Indian enterprises are investing in customer experience (CX) as a means to grow their business as compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region, according to a study by Zendesk, in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). Most Indian organisations (88%) accelerated their CX projects over the past 12 months compared to their counterparts in South Korea (67%), Australia (65%), Singapore (62%), and Japan (37%).

“In today’s digital-first economy, improving one’s customer experience is critical. In fact, our research with ESG confirms that the customer service function has evolved from a cost centre to become a revenue driver for businesses. Indian organisations who realised this have made great strides in maturing their customer experience capabilities, and are seeing the results. It’s important that all businesses – regardless of industry, size and life cycle – continue to invest and innovate in CX for long term success and growth,” said KT Prasad, MD & RVP, India & SAARC, Zendesk.

The 2021 State of CX Maturity Report surveyed more than 3,400 CX decision-makers globally – of which 921 were from APAC.

Indian organisations lead globally in their enthusiasm for a conversational future, with 79% of them agreeing that chat and social channels are most used by customers today and 100% predicting this will remain the case in the future

The research found that the number of Champions within midsized and enterprise companies in Asia Pacific has increased from 6% to 8% since 2020, with India (16%) and Australia (12%) having the highest proportion of Champions.

The vast majority of respondents in APAC (90%) agree that CX innovation is required to protect their business from competitors. And in India, 97% of midsize and enterprise-sized Indian organisations agree with this sentiment. In fact, three-quarters of them recognise the strategic imperative of CX innovation, significantly more so than their counterparts in South Korea (49%), Japan (45%), Singapore (42%) and Australia (41%).

“The findings indicate that the shift to digital and remote work during the pandemic served as a trigger for companies to accelerate their adoption of new technologies, policies and processes to benefit from a higher CX Maturity,” added Adam DeMattia, Director of Custom Research at ESG. “Across Asia Pacific, Champions recognise that service excellence can be a differentiator, and are actually accelerating investment in CX projects.”

All the Indian organisations said that they use support data to expand sales opportunities and business growth, the highest globally.

Larger APAC businesses have also increased customer visibility in the past year. Over three-quarters of larger Indian organisations (77%) achieved greater cross-channel visibility, a significantly higher percentage than their counterparts in Australia (36%), Singapore (29%), South Korea (23%), and Japan (17%). 64% of Indian organisations feel they made the right CX investments to increase their business resiliency in the future.